Monday, December 11, 2023

Dieting Fads of the 21st Century

BY Ruth Kedikilwe

Very much like fashion trends diet fads are a dime a dozen they get fancy names and modified every ever so often to keep up with the times, in the recent years, one cannot swing a cat in this city and not hit a person who is either banting or on a Ketogenic diet, the latest fads in the dieting frenzy and essentially entail following a high fat low carbohydrate meal plan regime with a lot of water. 

Like the evolution of bellbottoms to hipsters and ultimately the bootleg pants the banting and ketogenic diets too are brainchildren of the 19th century and have since been modified to accommodate consumers of the 21st century.

At a glance South African native Xolelwa Mpabani could easily pass for someone in her late twenties and it comes as quite the shock as she reveals that she recently turned 40 and has been quite the banter over the past couple of years. Mpabani follows an extremely strict gym and eating plans which are very time and quantity oriented. When speaking on Banting Mpabani stated that, “It is basically a low carbohydrate and a high fat eating plan which is sugar free as well, but only the good fats are consumed like animal fat from the meat, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and butter. ”

On the onset of following the banting or the ketogenic diets, the dieter’s body goes into a state of ketosis, it is a normal metabolic process which occurs When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body.However when the level of ketones in the body continues to increase the body goes into a state know as Ketoacidosis. This occurs when the levels of ketones in the body become abnormally high thus in turn poisoning the body. It is a serious and dangerous condition that can quickly develop, and can be triggered by illnesses that cause the production of hormones that work against insulin. It can also result from problems with insulin therapy, either through missing scheduled treatments or not being given enough insulin.

Though ideal for dieting, ketosis results in the loss of useful electrolytes which are essential for the proper functioning of the organs of the body.

During an interview with Dr Wada Goitsemang (Family Medicine Specialist in training) explained that electrolytes regulate physiological body functions like the heartbeat, muscle movements and water retention it is therefore imperative that they are kept in check.

According to Dr Goitsemang it is always advisable to get a physical check up to ensure one does not have pre existing conditions that could become problematic when following a specific diet citing that people with gout are advised to stay clear from diets that require them to consume red meat and their products. She further explained that they refer patients to dieticians who then guide them taking in to consideration their Body Mass Index which will give a clear indication on how much weight they need to lose to attain the perfect weight for their height.

Dr Goitsemang further said, “It is important to choose a well balanced diet which is sustainable and can be maintained in the long run with healthy results.” She cited that some of the existing fads and diets though aid in attaining extreme weight loss in a shorter period of time they are not necessarily healthy, balanced or sustainable.                      


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